Mark Driscoll and the Amazing Technicolor Evangelical Funhouse Mirror Sexual Worldview (Swedish Batteries Not Included)

  Mark Driscoll and the Amazing Technicolor Evangelical Funhouse Mirror Sexual Worldview (Swedish Batteries Not Included) (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)   Perhaps the recent tsunami wave of “Mark Driscoll Penis House” headlines has finally subsided to the point where one can write on the subject of the American Christian sexual worldview for a reason other than to gain an easy 10,000 views—and perhaps with a little substance in mind. …   September 26, 2014 / Patheos / Faith…

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Happy Birthday, Leo Tolstoy! Sincerely, Gandhi

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEO TOLSTOY!   Any of the tens of millions of Internet users who headed over to Google today noticed a special Google Doodle marking the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy’s 186th birthday. Normally we associate the literary Count with epic tomes like War and Peace and Anna Karenina. We think of glimmering ballrooms with officers in full regalia and dames in dazzling dresses, of trains speeding across snowy tundra, and of a whole host of unpronounceable surnames that send many of us rushing to George R.R. Martin as the 500-plus-page novelist of choice. (Besides, Tolstoy didn’t provide much in the way of dragons.)   While many associate Tolstoy’s works with military campaigns, such as the French invasion of Russia and the epic novella Hadji Murat, few realize that Tolstoy was a pivotal figure in the 20th century peace movement. In fact, his staunch anti-militarism cost him his communion with the Russian Orthodox Church: “Leo Tolstoy, who felt only contempt for militarism, enormously admired those Doukhobors who refused to bear arms, came to their aid and incurred the strongest disapproval of the state, including excommunication from the…

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Mork, He Dead: A Tribute to Robin Williams, Fallen World Jester

  “There by the rivers of Babylon 5 we sat and wept.” . Several days ago, I was feeling generally nostalgic and posted a photo from the film version of The World According to Garp as my Facebook background photo. It was the cover photo of the movie tie-in paperback—which shows a scene not original to John Irving’s classic novel about the life and times of progressive, curmudgeonly novelist, T.S. Garp.   In the scene, Garp, brought exquisitely to life by Robin Williams in his first major film role (unless you include Popeye), is house hunting with his wife, Helen, played by Mary Beth Hurt. The couple witnesses a small biplane crash into the upper floor of a suburban home (the pilot survives), whereupon Garp immediately responds to the realtor, “We’ll take the house! The chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical! It’s been pre-disastered!”   He turns to Helen and assures her, “It’ll be safe here.”   It’s a line only Robin Williams could deliver in a scene only he could play with a straight face. (I can only imagine the stifled guffaws of the film crew and director George Roy Hill during…

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What the Hell is Christian Fundamentalism?

  “When you say ‘radical right’ today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.” Barry Goldwater Washington Post, July 1994   If what the once and former Senator Goldwater said is true, pucker up and start blowing pecks at pundits.   If you are not familiar with the man known to some as Mr. Conservative, you are invited to take a minute to reflect on his life.   We have all heard talking heads proclaim that in today’s political climate, President Gipper would be considered a tax-and-spend liberal bedfellow, but what of former Presidential Candidate Goldwater? If the “nuclear madman” who rejected the New Deal and backed school prayer called the Religious Right the death rattle of American politics, consider just how far the political pendulum has swung in a mere two decades. (For chronological perspective, consider that the Goldwater quote above occurred the year Silvio Berlusconi first became prime minister of Italy. It hasn’t…

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I Corinthians 13: Colossus, Rise & Swallow Death

    I Corinthians 13: Colossus, Rise & Swallow Death (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)     So, for the first time in years, I’m not taking take the domes of I Corinthians 13 for granted. I feel its gravity, its pull. I have this terrible human need right now.  And I cannot fulfill it with faith. I cannot love it into existence.  But I can hope the out of it. I must. It is a matter of live and let die…     June 23, 2014 /…

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“Fight Hitler While You Still Can”: An Interview with Arik Bjorn

    “Fight Hitler While You Still Can”: An Interview with Screenwriter Arik Bjorn (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)     BJORN:  The tagline we’ve decided upon for Litten’s Passion is “The Forgotten First Victim of the Holocaust.” Litten’s Passion is one of those stories, kind of like a snake nut can—the second you pop off the narrative lid, this unbelievable story emerges. It’s one you can’t put back in the can once you’ve heard about it. …     May 3, 2014 / Regina…

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Happy International Workers’ Day, Uncle Sam! Sincerely, Civilization

Artist Lumen M. Winter’s mosaic mural at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington DC.   Dear Uncle Sam:   Happy International Workers’ Day! Or May Day, as some say!   No, not the kind of plummeting mayday cries you’re accustomed to—what with all your financial crises, your credit default swaps, your 37th World Health Organization ranking (despite your Number 1 expenditure status), and all that Gordon Gekko Fortune 500 Greed-Greed-Greed.   Say, damned good thing you spend more than $700 billion a year on defending yourself from Middle Eastern wedding parties. Just imagine the unemployment fiasco you’d have without the military industrial complex!   Speaking of unemployment, what’s the rate these days from Sea to Shining Sea? 6.7%? Not bad, not bad at all.   Shush, Norway! No, it is not okay if you rub it in that your unemployment rate is 3.4%!  Besides, we all know you have oodles of oil, unlike our American friends. What? No, I’ve never heard of North Dakota. They’re practically swimming in oil? Well, I’ll be.   But, seriously, you pesky little socialist nations, try to show some etiquette,…

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A Divine Comedy, of Sorts: On Banana Peel Theology

A Divine Comedy, of Sorts: On Banana Peel Theology (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)     Rarely does one leap from slumber at 3 a.m. eagerly. But that Summer of ’96 morn, a sacred moment beckoned me. Soon, after a rigorous, wee-small-hours hike, I would reach the peak of Mt. Sinai and behold the rising of the sun across the Sinai Desert.       A turn in the mountain path ahead. I trudge on. In the Egyptian dark.  So dark that I have no idea I am about to plant my head into a camel’s derriere. …     April 28, 2014 /…

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The Play Within the Play Within the Padded Walls (A Review of Robert Richmond’s “Hamlet”)

James Costello and Laurie Roberts; photo by Jason Ayer   The Play Within the Play Within the Padded Walls (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)   There is one place, surely, that Hamlet does not belong−he, who, more than any other character in literature defines modern consciousness and consciences, and from whose troubled lips and bare bodkin tongue issue more coarsely-witted words-words-words than nary a cock can crow at a russet mantle morn.     And that place is a madhouse.  So, then, let us put him there and see what happens!…     April 18, 2014 / What Jasper…

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Jesus Wept, Einstein’s Regret & How a Frenchman Fueled the Hermeneutics Wars

Jesus Wept, Einstein’s Regret & How a Frenchman Fueled the Hermeneutics Wars (CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE)   Christians all across the theo-political spectrum have a remarkable knack for treating individual Bible verses as if they were submarine torpedoes, perfectly designed to be loaded into contextual vacuum tubes and launched at enemy human beings and socioeconomic causes. And in our 21st-century meme culture, where keyboard strokes are as precious as platinum, things only stand to get worse unless philosophically-minded theologians and Christian leaders intervene. …   March 11, 2014 /…

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